Rushmoor Borough Council is reviewing its parking systems in Farnborough and Aldershot in a bid to improve customer service.

Following a focus group held last October with two sets of able-bodied motorists and one group of blue badge holders, the council is planning to re-design its parking policies to improve quality and reduce costs.

Motorists can currently pay for car parking using money or a smart card, which can be topped up.

However, Rushmoor is considering new payment options such as card trans-actions, a disposable pre-paid parking card, pay by phone, pay on foot and automatic number plate recognition.

The council is also considering the introduction of an ‘overpayment’ system, where customers can be credited with additional time in a pay and display car park if they pay more than the allocated charge.

Between 2012 and 2013 almost 3.5 million pay and display parking tickets were purchased in the borough and 17,632 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued – around 0.5% of total parking transactions.

Over the last five years the amount of pay and display tickets purchased has gradually decreased while the amount of PCNs issued has increased. In 2008, 10,176 PCNs were issued – just 0.27% of the total parking transactions for that year.

The council believes the decrease in the number of tickets purchased could be down to the recession and the closure of some council car parks within the borough, such as the Kingsmead multi-storey car park, which has now been taken over by another company.

At the latest meeting of the council’s environment policy and review panel, Helen Lolley, environmental health manager at the council, said the parking system currently is too complex and diverse.

The council wants to improve systems so car parks provide a safe and clean environment with facilities that are easy to use and good value for money.

The key areas that will be focused on are payment options for both on- and off-street parking, the application and allocation of parking permits, an increase in online services and improvement of Civil Enforcement Officer patrols.

David Quirk, director of community and environment at the council, said: “Pay on foot is just one of a number of options we are considering, but we must ensure that people can not get out without paying

“In certain car parks, such as Queensmead surface car park, you could easily get out without paying and get round barriers any other way.

“The review is part of a sweep of corporate reviews.

“I welcome the review into the parking work and I believe it will enable us to deliver a better and more customer-focused service.”

The recommendations, with full costs yet to be finalised, will now be put to the council’s cabinet for consideration.